My name is Marlon Chopra, or Mr C to my students, and I am the Dean of Students at Hennepin Middle School. I am also a resident of the Longfellow neighborhood that has been in the thick of this week’s events, here in Minneapolis, MN. I am contacting you today seeking assistance to create a community initiative in order to alleviate the fast incoming food shortage to this area.
I would like to organize a Pop-Up grocery store in the Longfellow neighborhood to address the needs of our community. We no longer have many grocery options after this week’s events, we have access to some food as a community, but there will be a huge need in about two weeks for FRESH staple groceries. I want to work towards when we are no longer in the media spotlight and when the cameras are gone, for our community to still have access to food and fresh staple items. Many food pantries and community organizations already have their constituents and can likely handle more, but there is a very low likelihood of them handling entire neighborhoods that can no longer shop for groceries. If we can create a pop-up style grocery store to help alleviate those issues, it will be nothing but a benefit for our community.
The “Longfellow Pop-Up Grocery” will be on a “pay what you can” basis to make it a sustainable venture until brick and mortar stores return. I am partnering with OREY, a NYC based 501c3 non-profit, to set up the back end. OREY has been instrumental in post-disaster relief like Katrina in New Orleans, Sandy in New York and New Jersey, Maria in Puerto Rico, and is currently aiding in NYC during the COVID crisis. Any donation made to fund the “Longfellow Pop-Up Grocery” will be fully tax deductible as we are partnering with OREY, a 501c3.
The “Longfellow Pop-Up Grocery” will be a place for locals to get essentials in an area that is walkable and easy to access. Now that buses and the lightrail are running sparingly or not running at all, people desperately need grocery options in their neighborhood.
We will need considerable help to get this off the ground and am reaching out to you for your expertise and assistance. If you would like to get involved, I can send over all pertinent materials for your perusal.
Together we can heal our community!
-Marlon Chopra (Mr C)